Laura is a Cape Cod native in her early forties now living in Orleans. She has two daughters, one enrolled in a technical high school who lives with her. She has been a long-time CNA—certified nursing aide—but was unable to work for a number of years due to a concussion she sustained in a domestic abuse situation. She received SSDI—disability insurance—but has recently and happily returned to work after being healed through rest and therapy. She feels better than she has in years and is looking forward to getting back to work.
Although she used her training as a private duty CNA for over ten years prior to her injury, she has decided on a job change and will now be a housekeeper for elderly people. “I love it. These jobs have made me feel so good, that I can help and do good for people who need it,’’ Laura said.
She worked last summer for two months to make a little money to augment the SSDI, but inadvertently went over the allowed income limit by $40.00 and is now required to pay back thousands. There is no way she can do this with other bills, and she said she is fighting it. She is hopeful that it will be resolved and will only have to pay back the original small amount.
Her teenage daughter got sick with COVID early on when they first learned about the virus, and still has a lack of taste and smell which they hope will come back. In the meantime, at her high school, she is studying to become an HHA—home health aide and her mother is teaching her how to clean professionally. “If you can clean efficiently, thoroughly and quickly and provide care for elderly or ill people, you will never be out of a job,” she stated.
Laura approached Lower Cape Outreach Council to ask for help with their electric bill and rent, both of which had gotten behind when she was out of work. When her girls were younger, she was able to receive some Christmas gifts from the Council, a generous and welcome addition that made their holiday a true celebration. When she started at the community college, LCOC had helped her with a laptop and purchased her first semester of books. “Lower Cape Outreach Council is a real blessing in our lives. They help us move forward with education, making us stronger and able to support ourselves,” Laura said.
“Lower Cape Outreach Council is so great. They have helped so many people, it makes me want to pay it forward. If not with money, then with helping others. That is my goal: to help others. I am in school at Cape Cod Community College and will transfer to Bridgewater in another couple of years to finish my degree in social work,” she said. When told this would be a story for the “Summer of Hope” series, she said, “That is exactly what the Council does, they give you hope for the future.”
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